GRE Argument Essay 145
The following appeared in a memo from the Dean of the College of Education at Omni State University.
“Only seven of our state’s high schools offer even one course in Latin, but over 80 percent of the graduates who study Latin at those seven schools enrolls in college. Furthermore, a recent study shows that students who have mastered Latin perform much better in logic and critical thinking. Thus, in order to increase the percentage of our high school students who graduate from college as well as to ensure that they receive a better education in critical thinking, Omni State University should begin an intensive program to prepare our future teachers to teach high school Latin.”
The Dean of the College of Education at Omni State University recommends that the Omni State University should commence a program for training their future teachers to teach high school Latin. To support the recommendation made, the Dean brings out the fact that over 80 percent of students from the seven schools in which Latin is taught, enroll in college. The dean supports his recommendation further by citing the results of a recent survey that indicate a link between mastering Latin and better performance in logic and critical thinking. However, the argument is highly unpersuasive in its present form due to lack of reasonably substantiated evidence.
Firstly, the arguer does not provide details regarding the number of high schools in the state. It is likely that the number of high schools in the state is so high that the seven schools where Latin is taught are insignificant in comparison. Moreover, there is no mention of the strength of the high schools. It is likely that these seven schools are situated in rural areas and therefore, the strength of students in these schools is very low. Therefore, even if 80 percent of the students from these schools enroll in college, they would account for a small percentage of the total number of students enrolled in the college. Hence, this small percentage of students has unfairly been utilized for supporting the recommendation to start an intensive program to train teachers to teach high school Latin.
It is likely that these seven schools have a curriculum that pays less emphasis on outdoor activities, thereby leaving adequate time for the students to learn Latin. It is not necessary that implementing the same in the other high schools in the state will have similar results. Moreover, it is likely that the schools in the state are already facing a shortage of teachers and they may not be able to segregate teachers who are to be trained for teaching Latin as there may be a more urgent need to train teachers for other subjects like Math and Science. The arguer fails to provide information related to the status of the teaching faculty in the high schools of the state. Therefore, spending time, effort and money in implementing the program as recommended by the Dean is unwarranted.
Secondly, the results of the recent survey are dubious as the argument does not include any additional information related to the conduct of the survey. Was the survey conducted amongst students who study Latin? Were they compared with the students who do not study Latin? Was a test conducted to assess their logical and critical thinking capabilities or was the survey restricted to taking feedbacks from their teachers? The answers to these questions play a crucial role in determining the authenticity of the results of the survey. Additionally, it is possible that the students who are learning Latin had good logical reasoning and critical thinking skills much before they started learning Latin. On the other hand, it is likely that the seven schools, where Latin is taught, conduct special classes for training their students for developing their logical reasoning and critical thinking skills. In the absence of such information the reader cannot be convinced that mastery over Latin assists in improving your logical reasoning and critical thinking abilities.
In conclusion, the given argument is largely fallacious. It may have been strengthened by providing reliable evidence that proved that gaining mastery over Latin actually improves your critical thinking skills and that teaching Latin across all high schools in the state will increase the number of students who enroll for college. Moreover, the reader needs to be convinced that the students of all the high schools in the state will benefit from the program to train teachers to teach high school Latin.